Abingdon Street, Blackpool info@abingdonstudios.co.uk

UK Young Artists Arrive In Blackpool

Twelve emerging young artists are set to arrive in Blackpool this Friday for a residency weekend exploring popular culture.

The weekend has been organised as part of a pilot to explore new ways for artists aged 18-30 to come together to learn and share ideas.

Born out of an ongoing collaboration between UK Young Artists (UKYA) and town centre space Abingdon Studios above Abingdon Street Market, the long term hope is to create a national scheme allowing young artists to develop new work.

Garth Gratrix, Abingdon Studios Founding Director, said: “We’re really excited to be welcoming some of the UKs best emerging young artists to Blackpool for the weekend.

“The weekend has been born out of an ongoing collaboration between Abingdon Studios and UK Young Artists, building on previous residency programmes we have hosted.

“Through residency opportunities such as this we are continuing to put Blackpool on the map as a site for visual arts production, using its unique popular culture backdrop as a tool to inspire new work.”

The visiting artists were chosen through a rigorous selection process from applications which were sent in from across the UK.

While they are in town the artists will be hearing from industry professionals including Michael Trainor, Artistic Director of LeftCoast who have supported the project, and well established artists and curators including Richard Smith, Tom Ireland, Andrew Gannon, Thomas Small and Claudio Zecchi.

Michelle Bowen, Strategic Director of UK Young Artists added: “After several visits to Blackpool, we are very excited about bringing a national collection of artists to connect and collaborate in new ways on the coast.

“The culture is rich and unique here and we want artists to engage with the place and continue to progress their development here.

“Working with Abingdon Studios makes perfect sense as it gives artists a chance to explore new possibilities in a new studio space.”

The artists will also be spending time exploring Blackpool’s spaces and culture, with visits to the Grundy Art Gallery and The Blackpool Tower, and collaborating to create new site specific work in the town.

On arrival, the artists will work together in a matter of hours to create a pop-up exhibition in Abingdon Studios project space which will be open to the public from 6pm.

Ralph Dorey

Ralph Dorey

Organs for Water

It is a short film about things like Buffy The Vampire Slayer on the beach, joining the police or joining a gang, the beach, finding a job or losing a job, falling in love or just being friends, getting wasted at school, in the cinema or on the beach, being a monster but not worrying what other people think, giving up on work and leisure and just playing.

Organs for Water (2016) was developed as part of WORK/LEISURE: a programme of five residencies conceived and delivered by Abingdon Studios in 2016.

Ralph Dorey was the second artist in residence as part of WORK/LEISURE.

The screening of Organs for Water coincided with the opening of two new exhibitions at Grundy Art Gallery; Jenny Steele: An Architecture of Joy and Louise Giovanelli; From Here to Here (Part 2)

WORK/LEISURE was funded by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts and supported by LeftCoast, Blackpool Council and Grundy Art Gallery

Adam Bassanta

Adam Bassanta

A few familiar objects

Canadian artist Adam Bassanta undertook a micro residency at Abingdon Studios in 2016 as part of  Other Worlds Festival funded by Arts Council England and supported by Abingdon Studios and Supercollider.

Bassanta’ recent work exclusively makes use of objects from the world of commercial sound reproduction technologies. Disrupting their technical and economic functions, thus nullifying their potential as instruments of mass communication, these objects are transformed into sculptural sound­ producing centrepieces.


Benjamin Orlow

Benjamin Orlow


Abingdon Studios Project Space (ASPS)

Abingdon Studios presented an exhibition by Benjamin Orlow; the first in a series of presentations by artists delivered through Abingdon Studios’ Work/Leisure residency programme.

Bringing together new works, made whilst in residence at Abingdon Studios, Blackpool during March 2016 and recent works from the artist’s oeuvre, the exhibition continues Benjamin’s ongoing research into the body as a domestic animal.

The body as a domestic animal (ongoing since 2012) posits that ‘Leisure and self improvement are a new utopia; activities, destinations, travel and special objects are the means for achieving a happier life, being more relaxed, stress free and possibly even more productive as a result of all of this. Work and ordinary life can feel heavy but certain situations and methods exist to cancel the built up tensions and make us achieve more in life, profanely and spiritually’.

Throughout the project, Benjamin acts as an explorer, in this sought after leisure-realm, experiencing the activities and products that exist to obtain what is desired; health, improvement, new skills, new knowledge, vacation, relaxation etc.

video works can be viewed via the dedicated WORK/LEISURE website

Mark Page

Mark Page


Abingdon Studios Project Space (ASPS) was pleased to have housed a new commissioned body of work by photographer Mark Page.

Sodley-On-Sea has featured as part of Enlighten festival of light in Manchester and also SPECTRA festival in Aberdeen. During its time in Blackpool the work was placed acrosss five cultural venues; Grundy Art Gallery, Central Library, Winter Gardens, Grand Theatre and Abingdon Studios and reached over 8000 visitors over the course of a week.

Sodley-On-Sea was made possible through Arts Council England and managed by Curated Place and produced by Garth Gratrix

Jayne Simpson & Claire Griffiths

In-Deference was a collaboration between studio artist Jayne Simpson and visual art photographer Claire Griffiths; exhibited in Jan 2016.

This is an ongoing project discovering re-developments and celebrating memories  in Blackpool.

This collaboration investigates time, space and place through a series of images created through new media and brings artistic disciplines together to explore and respond to a variety of sites in an ever changing landscape.

In-Difference highlights and reflects on a domestic and working history  imprinted on the memories of people and place and to some extent seeks to memorialise and catalogue these shifts and alterations in a contemporary context.




WORK/LEISURE Residency Programme

workleisure web3

Work/Leisure was a pilot programme of five residencies, inviting emerging and mid-career artists to work alongside the community of resident artists based at Abingdon Studios, Blackpool. These short term residencies were non-prescriptive and designed to enable artists to research and develop new work in the historically and culturally unique location of Blackpool.

5 artists residencies were granted and hosted by Abingdon Studios.

For further information about Work/Leisure can be found via the website



Curated by Ann Carragher

As part of this years ArtCOP– A global festival of cultural activity on climate change.

In December 2016 TestBed presented an informal evening of art and critical discussion, premised on the theme of Art and Ecology, in a global and local context.
The event sought to become an impetus for recasting values, and encouraging future inquiry and discussion, where political, social, environmental and philosophical concerns are central to future practice and engagement with climate change.




Will Kendrick



Curated by Supercollider Contemporary Art Projects
Sept/Oct 15

Will Kendrick’s work speaks of ideas surrounding the blurring lines within our cultural methods of production and archiving. Kendrick’s wide ranging practice consistently references the collapse and parallels of time experienced in the age of the internet. The works’ diverse and eclectic appearance reflects the wide spectrum of human endeavour in our contemporary hyper-saturated, globally connected space.

The exhibition is brought to Abingdon Studios Project Space by Supercollider

For more about Will Kendrick